Player grades from Minnesota Timberwolves' win over Nets

The shorthanded Minnesota Timberwolves broke their nine-game home losing streak with a gutsy, overtime victory over the Brooklyn Nets.

Timberwolves logoTimberwolves
122
Final/OT
Nets logoNets
115

The Minnesota Timberwolves entered Monday night's game against the Brooklyn Nets having lost 12 of their last 13 games and nine home games in a row. They were also without Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Jake Layman, Treveon Graham, and Noah Vonleh due to injury or illness.

And through the first three quarters, things seemed to be going as expected. The Nets led the entire way and took a four-point lead into the final frame.

Then, trailing 89-80, a lineup of Shabazz Napier, Kelan Martin, Jarrett Culver, Robert Covington, and Gorgui Dieng went on a 9-0 run and tied things up. Head coach Ryan Saunders rode the lineup to a brief lead late in the fourth before the Nets tied the game and sent it to overtime.

In overtime, the Wolves shot 7-of-10 from the field and got big-time 3-pointers from Covington and Martin, followed by mid-range jumpers from Napier and Culver. Then, a dagger three from Napier extended the Wolves' lead to 120-113 with 42 seconds remaining, and that was effectively it.

The Wolves struggled to shoot the ball inside the arc in this one but were good from beyond the arc, making 17 of their 44 long-range attempts (38.6 percent). This was simply an attempt of the Wolves sticking with their game plan and finally coming through with some big rebounds and made 3-pointers late in the game

Player Grades

Robert Covington

Forward | Minnesota Timberwolves
B+
Robert Covington was really good in this game, finishing with 14 points (4-8 FG, 3-6 3P, 3-5 FT), seven rebounds, two blocks, and one steal. He was a team-high 12 and was solid on defense. A couple of his 3-point makes were timely late in the game.

Gorgui Dieng

Center | Minnesota Timberwolves
B+
Gorgui Dieng didn't have big offensive numbers, scoring just 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting and only attempting three 3-pointers. But he was huge on the glass, pulling down 20 rebounds and doing his best to hold down Jarrett Allen and DeAndre Jordan. Dieng also had a vital hustle play with the Wolves down five and only about a minute to play, saving a Culver air-ball from going out of bounds and leading to free throw attempts for the Wolves when it looked like they were about to lose the possession.

Shabazz Napier

Guard | Minnesota Timberwolves
A
Shabazz Napier was coming off of a 3-for-17 shooting performance on Saturday against Cleveland, and had a much better night against his former team. Napier shot 8-of-18 from the field and 3-of-6 from beyond the arc en route to 24 points and eight assists in 34 minutes. It was another high-volume evening for Napier, but he was good overall and had a couple huge makes in the extra session.

Kelan Martin

Wing | Minnesota Timberwolves
B
Kelan Martin was solid once again. The numbers (nine points and nine rebounds) aren't eye-popping, but his work on the glass as the team's second-leading rebounder was vital, plus a huge 3-point make in overtime. His 11 was the second-best on the team and he was solid on defense once again.

Jeff Teague

Point Guard | Minnesota Timberwolves
B
Jeff Teague was just okay in this one, playing only 20 minutes as Napier had such a strong performance. He finished with nine points on seven shot attempts, four assists, three rebounds and three turnovers.

Naz Reid

Center | Minnesota Timberwolves
A-
Naz Reid entered the game in the first quarter and received the first extended run of his rookie season due to the injuries to Towns and Vonleh. He finished with 13 points and four rebounds in 20 minutes, launching 16 shots and making five of them, including 3-of-10 from beyond the arc. Brooklyn was apparently unaware of his shooting ability from deep, letting him fire away in the first half. Reid's second-half stint was much shorter, but his offense kept the Wolves in the game early as he lead the team in scoring at the break.

Jarrett Culver

Guard | Minnesota Timberwolves
B+
Jarrett Culver scored 21 points in 38 minutes but took 21 shots get it. He was 3-of-8 from beyond the arc and hit two huge free throws in the final minute after Dieng's hustle play. It was overall a solid game from the rookie, as he shot the ball with confidence and was active on defense, nabbing three steals in the open floor to add to his five rebounds and three assists.

Keita Bates-Diop

Forward | Minnesota Timberwolves
B+
Keita Bates-Diop was only 4-of-8 from the field in 27 minutes but still put up 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds, plus two steals and two blocks. He hit a buzzer-beater at the end of the first half, his only 3-pointer of the game.

Other Players

Josh Okogie played 18 minutes off the bench but shot just 1-of-5 and missed both of his 3-point attempts. He also had two rebounds and an assist and was a team-worst -6 on the night.

Jordan Bell had just a four-minute stint in the second half but officially wins the Most Active Bench Cheerleader award in this one.

Next: The Warriors are keeping tabs on Karl-Anthony Towns

Up Next

Just when the Wolves win two out of three games and seem to be playing better, they'll have to head east to Milwaukee to take on the mighty Bucks on New Year's Day at 7 p.m. CT.